Chlothar II (or Chlotar, Clothar, Clotaire, Chlotochar, or Hlothar), called the Great or the Young, was King of Neustria and King of the Franks, and the son of Chilperic I and his third wife, Fredegund. He started his reign as an infant under the regency of his mother, who was in an uneasy alliance with Clothar's uncle Guntram, King of Burgundy (d. 592). Clothar assumed full power over Neustria upon her death in 597; though rich this was one of the smallest portions of Francia. He continued his mother's feud with Queen Brunhilda of Austrasia with equal viciousness and bloodshed, finally achieving her execution in an especially brutal manner in 613, after winning the battle that enabled Chlothar to unite Francia under his rule. Like his father, he built up his territories by moving in after the deaths of other kings.
His reign was long by contemporary standards, but saw the continuing erosion of royal power to the nobility and the church against a backdrop of feuding among the Merovingians. The Edict of Paris in 614, concerned with several aspects of appointments to offices and the administration of the kingdom, has been interpreted in different ways by modern historians. In 617 he made the Mayor of the Palace a role held for life, an important step in the progress of this office from being first the manager of the royal household to the effective head of government, and eventually the monarch, under Pepin the Short in 751. Chlothar was forced to cede rule over Austrasia to his young son Dagobert I in 623.
Unusually for a Merovingian monarch, he practised monogamy, though deaths meant that he had three queens. He was generally an ally of the church and, perhaps inspired by the example of his uncle Guntram, his reign seems to lack the outrageous acts of murder perpetrated by many of his relations, the execution of Brunhilda excepted.
Chlothar II ruled:
- 584-613 Neustria (Soissons)
- 595-613 also Paris
- 10 October 613 – 18 October 629 the whole Kingdom of the Franks